Lower Township and Egg Harbor Township men arrested in child pornography sweep

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Child Porn Sweep Child Porn Sweep A Lower Township man was arrested July 1 on both possession and distribution of child pornography, after authorities said they found at least 250 images and videos of child pornography on his computer.

Walter Javier Vibanco, 47, was one of 14 New Jersey residents arrested in a second round of arrest in “Operation Predator Alert,” a joint operation by the state Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations that has targeted offenders in New Jersey who used a file-sharing network to download and distribute child pornography, including child rape videos, on the Internet.

Armando Nortez, 28, Egg Harbor Township, was also arrested in the sweep.

A total of 28 defendants have been charged in two separate sweeps under Operation Predator Alert, including 14 prior arrests announced Oct. 28, 2013.

Acting Attorney General Hoffman announced the results of the operation at press conference Thursday, July 24, with Elie Honig, director of the state Division of Criminal Justice and Andrew M. McLees, special agent in charge, of the Newark Office of ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

All 14 men arrested in this round are charged under the states’ new child pornography statute, signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie last year.

The law increases penalties for possession, distribution, or manufacturing of child pornography. If convicted of distributing 25 or more computer files of child pornography under the new law, defendants face a mandatory state prison sentence of five years without possibility of parole.

Any defendant found to with 100 or more files of child pornography on his computer faces a presumptive sentence of three to five years in prison.

“When we target those who share child pornography online, we routinely uncover offenders who are sexually abusing children or stalking them,” said Honig in a press release.

“That is why these operations are so critical. Viewing these vile images is a serious crime in itself, because it motivates those who sexually exploit children to create child pornography and it re-victimizes the children involved.”

“Child predators come from all walks of life, and citizens everywhere must be vigilant as these threats aren't always easily seen,” McLees said. “This case illustrates the important working relationship between HSI and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice to locate and identify the perpetrators of these terrible crimes no matter what steps these criminals take to keep themselves hidden in the shadows.”

All 14 of the defendants are charged with possession of child pornography, and most of the defendants also are charged with distribution of child pornography for allegedly using Internet file-sharing software to make files containing child pornography readily available for others to download, the acting Attorney General said in a statement.

Arrested locally were Vibanco and Armando Nortez, Egg Harbor Township.

Nortez, 28, was arrested June 25, and was employed as a school bus driver in Mays Landing by Sheppard Bus Company at the time of his arrest. He is charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

Also arrested in the sweep were: Michael Van Culin, 30, Monroeville; Andrew Schreiner, 28, Williamstown; Jonathan S. Fink, 41, Cherry Hill; Michael Parker, 55, Pennsauken; Thomas Pirretti, 31, Flemington; Arlanda Johnson, 46, Pemberton Township; Daniel Allen Corda, 46, Bellmawr; Jerrell Harris, 28, Elizabeth; Matthew Hems, 23, Tabernacle; Arnold M. Kay, 74, Linden; Jorge Geovani Lopez-Betancourt, 34, Trenton; and Raymond Purkis III, 48, Montgomery Township.

According to the press release, the charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Because they are indictable offenses, the charges will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.

The investigation is ongoing and the defendants may face additional charges upon indictment. Bails set for the defendants range from $10,000 up to $150,000.


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